The Commissioner urged the National Bank to provide an opportunity for citizens to pay state duty in all branches of Sberbank of Abkhazia.
28 July 2021
The Ombudsman’s office in the Republic of Abkhazia keeps receiving complaints regarding inconvenience in the process of submitting documents for obtaining a foreign passport of the Russian Federation. The applicants report that in order to pay the state fee for renewing a foreign passport of the Russian Federation, they have to travel from various districts and cities of the Republic to Sukhum, to the location of the only branch of Sberbank in the Republic that accepts this type of payment. Citizens have to endure crowding uncomfortably close to each other in long queues during a pandemic. And all this for a chargeable service provided by Sberbank.
It should be noted that the only cash register that accepts payment of the above state duty, is located at the private company “Center Consultant LLC”. This company is providing document preparation services for the registration of foreign passports, and it is not a structural branch of the Embassy of the Russian Federation.
Following clause 12.1 of the Regulations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation “On the provision of state services for the registration and issuance of a passport of Russian Federation outside the territory”, approved by the Order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation No. 2113 of February 12, 2020, citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia have the freedom of choice and the right to independently obtain and fill out an application form for replacement of a foreign passport of the Russian Federation, without resorting to the services of commercial organizations.
The Commissioner believes that accepting payment of state duty exclusively at cash desk No. 1090 not only inconveniences the bank’s clients but also threatens the lives and health of citizens during the pandemic. The policy of Sberbank of Abkhazia thus leads to a violation of the right to health.
In view of the above, and in order to ensure the right of citizens to health and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Commissioner addressed a formal letter to the Chairman of the National Bank of the Republic of Abkhazia Beslan Baratelia, with a request to consider the possibility of transferring the function of accepting consular fees to all branches of Sberbank of Abkhazia.